Monday, 31 January 2011

4 Behaviours to avoid when encountering Sales Objections

Objections in selling are akin to a hurdle , barrier or fence that can impede our progress and which we need to overcome. Few sales meetings are concluded without one or more objections being raised at some point during the sales presentation and discussion.

The very best way of dealing with objections is to Pre-empt them. (e.g. “You may be aware that TLG spherical roller Bearings are one of the premium providers of this type of self-aligning product, yet are number one in the market.
Our customers get more value out of the product and I’d like to illustrate where that extra value exists…”)

Addressing upfront the fact that there are certain potential objections and bringing them up yourself, plus providing the answers at the same time will prevent them being raised later on.

N.B. Only do this if you are reasonably sure that the client will think of them - otherwise you are drawing attention to something which might never have presented a problem anyway.

There are two kinds of objection:
Information seeking ( easy so long as you have the relevant knowledge) and
Major ( which can seen at first sight to be like an impenetrable castle wall)

It is important for us to clear any smoke screens away to give ourselves the best chance of handling the real objection.

Our natural reaction is often to try to suppress the objection before it gets out of hand which can lead to one or more of the following unhelpful behaviours:

Pouncing: an instant response (sometimes even before the prospect has finished speaking!) is discourteous and creates an emotional barrier - it suggests you have not considered what has been said and that you are not concerned for the client’s point of view.

Being glib: too practised and rapid a reply will be suspect and unconvincing - it suggests you have heard it all before and are just repeating a page in your sales manual.

Arguing: the instant response “yes, but” suggests that you disagree just as much as “...I Don’t agree with you ...”, “... No that’s not right and here’s why...” or anything similar; don’t even suggest that you disagree by shaking your head or raising an eyebrow.

Scoring points: drowning someone in technical detail, or proving that they do not understand or have made a mistake, will simply make them feel foolish and/or angry.

Understanding the concern that underpins the objection is essential if you are going to deal with it effectively; therefore listening and clarifying are vital at this point. Furthermore, any emotion needs to be removed from the situation, as logic alone cannot sway emotion. Thus, establishing a clear understanding of their position first is essential, using silence to gather more information and clarifying by paraphrasing and repeating.

How to address an objection

Listen -

and show that you are listening.

Pause -

to show that you are considering the point.

Clarify -
ensure that you understand, and demonstrate
that you understand, by questioning, summarising, rephrasing or repeating.

Appreciate - by acknowledging the customer’s viewpoint, express empathy, and confirm understanding of the customer’s concerns.

Evaluate - whether the objection is ‘information seeking’ or a misunderstanding, or is it a ‘major objection’ based on valid points?

then either
Explain - if the objection is ‘information seeking’ then provide more information (making sure that you assume the blame for inadequate explanation)

Hinge - if it is a valid ‘major objection’ then use a phrase such as “However”, “On the other hand”, “Alternatively”, “Have you considered…”;
or turn the objection into a question


Justify - by using Benefits and ‘YOU’ Appeal (or personalised benefit) to neutralise and outweigh the objection and motivate the customer. ( The slide below from the Buyers Views of Salespeople outlines the most popular areas of an offer that prompted Buyers to buy. Thorough questioning will pinpoint the relevant areas to your buyer)
and finally

Commit -
if appropriate, confirm that the customer is in agreement with your answer before moving on (to the close).

(NB: Testimonials - If you have customers who are loyal to your company, then get letters of referral/testimonials from them. It can help you justify the price.)

Click for free executive summary of the Buyers Views of salespeople research study

Next post we will examine some special categories of objections and consider some responses.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

" Davos 2011 is not elitist boondoggle - let’s move on from remorsefulness.” Alexandr Orlov speaks at World Economic Forum WEF

I Alexandr Orlov am mixing with other high ups in exclusive club in Switzerland. Rubbings shoulder with likes of pop star Bono and fellow entrepreneur Buffet Warren and Gates Bill but did not see Sugar Alan. Perhaps he not invited!
Check Spelling
Hotel snazzy (like Orlov mansion in Meerkovo), built in 1900 in Art Nouveau style as luxury sanatorium. It was setting for Thomas Mann’s novel “The Magic Mountain”. Building converted later into hotel.

As honoured guest at "Exclusive British Business Leaders lunch.” on Friday 28th January. I tuckings into the lightly pink duck was disappointed I would have preferred a dustmite appetiser,then roast scorpion with cranberry and beetle stuffing but hotel cannot cater for meerkat gourmet like me.

(Delivering my speech at Davos - scroll down for textings of my illustrious speech.)

Chancellor George , who was guest of honour, said "we need to move on when it comes to bankings.” (Much cheerings and murmurings from many Bankers present.)

“Banks still have way to go on Project Merlin and I needings get deal on lendings and remuneratings” stressed Chancellor George.

"hear hear" said Boris London Mayor (of the Boris bikings), who was sitting next to me at top table.

Chancellor George wants deal with banks I think, so that he drawings " line in sand”. Chancellor George said” banker bashings must stop"

Like Diamond Bob’s appearance at Treasury Select Committee maybe banks need to move on from period of remorsefulness.

There was much relief sighing around the dining room and burpings from the duck eatings .

Other interestings points from Chancellor George:
50p tax rate is temporary,
he wants to reduce regulation on business ( very important for comparing meerkats business)
and Budget will be dominated by supply side measures
the Green Investment Bank, as Clegg Nichols revealed recently, is going to get the go-ahead.

(My bodyguard,Sergei at Davos - Sergie in disguise wearing his contact lenses)

It was now my turnings to speak at Davos !

“My fellow meerkats, theme this year is Shared Norms for the New Reality,
reflectings fact is that we live in world becoming increasingly complex and
interconnected but also experiencings erosion of common values and principles.

Is Davos boondoggle or as we Meerkats say a wastings of time and money? Well
that can only be answered by the actionings of our discussions here. ( Much hand

World economy is navigatings uncharted waters in the wake of
global financial crisis. With goal of buildings and sustainings economic growth
in mind.

This Forum is heading its spears to rethink infrastructure development,
reshape responsible capitalism and encourage the free movement of comparable
meerkats and goodies.

Food security and economic crises have highlighted urgent need and potential for developings sustainable food supply such as .

One in six meerkats does not have access to adequate nutrition today. That
makes about a billion meerkats on planet earth today. *

Strengthenings international monetary and financial system is priority in wake of global financial crisis. Our work is focusings on alternative investments, the
development of financial systems, long-term investing, financial governance, as
well as mobile financial services readiness and sustainable lendings

Health for meerkats is one of the World Economic Forum’s key issues due to health's immediate link to our mission of improving the state of world. By engaging leaders, the Forum focuses on three key health-related activities:

and actionings through partnership.

World Economic Forum believes economic progress without social development is not sustainables, while social development without economic progress is not feasibles.

Remember our motto fellow meerkats ‘entrepreneurship in the global meerkat interest’. ( Rapturous applaudings and standing ovations - better than my OSCAR movie triumphs for 'Streets of Ambitiousness' and 'The Journey of Courageousness.')

Now for more brainstormings sessions on leak wiki etc. and chaw chaw plenary sessionings.

. I looking forward to final lunch on Sunday 2.00-14.00 at Schatzalp Hotel maybe Hotel can do scarab beetle burger plus cheese accompanied with mushy fleas.

This report above is totally fictitious and unauthorised hacking of blog - please note and are trading names of BISL Ltd.

* Regrettably the number in reality is one in six humans does not have adequate access to good nutrition. That is a billion fellow human beings.

That sharp and stark number has pricked by conscience.

Should you wish to make a donation to Oxfam while the good and great talk at Davos in 2011 and future meetings of WEF.
Click for donation site for OXFAM

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Learning Technologies Exhibition part 4 Speaking live to your laptop camera and the opportunities of mobile learning to Sales

The short seminar sessions at the Learning Technologies Show 2011 had a great variety of topics . With over half a dozen lecture zones there were plenty of talks to choose from. Walking around the exhibition one realised it was a tough arena to present in.

The seminar seating was open to two sides which were aisles to the exhibition which meant visitors not attending the talk were walking to and fro offering a distraction to audience.
The noise and distractions from the stands beyond the aisles also exacerbated this.

Since many of the speakers were delivering from a lectern usually from notes accompanied by PowerPoint slides the audience needed to concentrate that bit more.

Some of the microphone settings were not set up quite right to carry the speaker’s voice of the melee of the exhibition.

One of the most engaging of the presentations showed how such distractions could be overcome. It was a workshop presentation by Sue Meadows from RADA enterprises

Sue’s topic was on speaking live to camera.

With the rise in business use of video web conferencing calls, and Skype calls on video all in selling need to learn skills of speaking to camera. Apart from Sues’ experience as an actress she coaches the newsreaders and reporter on TV Channel 4.

Sue presented from the centre of the stage and did not use the lecterns placed at the sides. The camera shot display covered the entire screen live from where a ‘student’ sat in front of a laptop with camera on.

( Mystified ?I can't quite undrstand the show's building brick logo on th eposters either!)

Then in short enacted scenarios the student delivered to camera in a series of linked cameos. Sue punctuated the student’s delivery and got the audience to observe and give feedback which she then drew out learning points.

She also got us doing breathing exercises, tongue twisters standing up and drew questions out of the audience.

Sue focused on three main areas
1. Physical Posture when sitting at the laptop camera and being fully prepared.
2. Body Language – especially the eyes – keep looking at the camera and through the lens
3. Work on your vocal qualities – from breathing through articulation to projection.
Remember your microphone is never off, nor the camera until your laptop is fully disconnected. Forget mute buttons. Sue cited the current scandal of two TV Soccer pundits whose sexist indiscretions supposedly off camera and broadcast has led to them losing being sacked or forced resignation.

(Sue Meadows of RADA Enterprises Ltd. and visitor! )

Another great seminar came from the 37 year old Tom Stone – Product Design Architect from element k.

His talk was on Mobile learning and was particularly of interest to the Sales and marketing community. Based in Rochester , NY , this was Tom’s first visit to London.

The previous week he had attended an exhibition in the USA where he noted that alongside the I Pad there were 30 new tablet devices on show along with Android and blackberry offering. The number of Mobile devices are growing and growing.

Apparently a survey was done in the states asking what would people who have just left the house return to it immediately keys were no.1 followed by the Mobile / Smartphone etc.

Tom’s talk was well structured and clear.

Sales and marketing professionals are a target market for mobile learning because most already use the technology and have a device they use for work.
Tom identified two areas of opportunity for Sales and marketing in mobile learning
The first was “STOLEN MOMENTS” or time fillers e.g. at the Airport, in the Car ( Audio only) Queuing and the second was URGENCY. To help performance support more people are asking for just in time learning access.

One case study that Tom mentioned was for Merrill Lynch( part of Bank of America) whose results from a mobile learning project were impressive. A survey of 170 Merrill executives on a Mobile learning project

99% thought it support their learning well
100% were willing to complete another mobile training project
75% considered the advantages as convenient, better time management, and training with no distractions compared to certain e learning methods.

Tom Stone of element k

Tom’s talk outlined who mobile learning was most suited for, where most mobile learning is used, where it is considered most important and what the main issues of mobile learning in terms of design and compatibilities are with devices plus some great advice on the ‘gotchas’ and ‘ hurdles’ to overcome.

A Further report to come on the last day of the exhibition.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Learning Technolgies Show 2011 Part 3 Live Call phone coaching, long run training partnerships and effective e learning

Mandy Stephens, Director of Phone Coach Limited
PhoneCoach have been leaders in the supply of telephone role-play equipment for years.

Using their equipment delegates learn in a realistic and safe learning environment to get instant feedback.

For all the discussion about the challenges of communicating to clients over the telephone, watching videos, reading workbooks plus the artificial and unsatisfactory way of getting delegates to sit back to back and ‘play –ring ring’ - in the end it is the practice doing it that helps. I agree with Mandy. I have used PhoneCoach equipment of the years and delegates learn most by DOING.

Phone coach both hire and sell a comprehensive array of equipment from a 3 way simulator ( Seller, Buyer and Trainer), through cordless versions, to 12 station units.

The newest development from PhoneCoach is the PhoneCoach Live Call anytime.

For sales trainers who have already conventional run role play practice- PhoneCoach now enable the learner to move to the next level. By recording outgoing real calls. Delegates can practice new business development calls , cold calling and other proactive phone call skills.

PhoneCoach provide a number to dial, once you hear the dial tone you ring the number you want, at the end of the call, you can ring off or you can wait for the respondent to ring off and then make further calls if you wish.

You can then play back your recordings any time you like. Web playback is the most popular.

Accessing the PhoneCoach website using a secure login,( user name and password) your calls then can be downloaded to your PC or laptop via a USB memory stick. Recorded calls can be deleted automatically at the end of any period or kept for a longer period and can be remotely archived.

Leading Telephone Sales Trainer Audrey Bryce has written a glowing endorsement on the system. Apart from the accelerated learning benefits and measurable success of training Audrey says

“ This tool will enable companies to quantify their return on investment. "

Anne England of Ashford Tailored Training

I attended a short presentation by Ashford Training. Anne England described the training partnership that Ashford have had with Pets at home.

There may be nothing new in training, Anne explained the content matters still but the vehicle is different.

Ashford Tailored Training have become the voice of -“Pets at home” covering induction through Customer service to management development. The theme of her talk was “In it for the long run”.

Through the case study were shown how the story had developed & the changes of training materials.

Anne illustrated a simple but engaging way how Ashford helped to training product and technical knowledge of customer service staff at Pets at home where knowledgeable and helpful staff are needed at the customer interface.

She adapted a session on animal nutrition to one for the audience at the exhibition – Human Nutrition. We were lent a squeaky pet toy to use for voting for our choice on a multiple choice questionnaire projected on PowerPoint slides.

Testing them out as when Stephen Fry asks the contestants on TV’s ‘QI’ programme to test their buzzer, the audience at the show were involved and engaged.

This was impressive as the seminar theatre was open to the corridors of the exhibition on two sides with attendant distractions of people walking by.

It is also a somewhat less expensive option to electronic voting used at other sessions and the conference!

Ashford measured their training with the client and achieved an impressive 89% knowledge retention score, improved sales and Net Promotion Scores ( NPS)

Raf Verheyden Managing Director of McVirtus

There were a host of e-learning purveyors at the show this year.

Indeed the First floor was dedicated to one which caught my eye was McVirtus.
I asked Raf who is from Belgium what makes effective e- learning.

McVirtus’ approach is for very high quality visual input underpinned by Cognitive Load Theory so that learning is embedded and sticks with better retention.. With clients like Siemens and BASF their solutions sell.

Along with visually rich content, e-learning sessions Raf suggested that they should be no longer than 20 minutes. McVirtus' e –learning Sales training suite comprises of six modules which are to be covered in two weeks.

Their projects are supported by follow up emails, reminders and control statistics for monitoring and measuring.

This is important since a major criticism of on line learning approaches is the issue that often candidates don’t complete their courses.

Effective Online training is achieved through better comprehension, greater user adoption and superior retention.

McVirtus offer on line course in Sales, Procurement, leadership and soft skills.

They blog at

The Learning Technologies Show 2011 continues tomorrow 27th January Further reports will be posted on Better use of presentation on Camera with RADA and Mobile learning the Element K way.

Learning Technologies 2011 Show (2nd Post), A Tribal approach, A Red Herring and “Charisma can be taught” - the giftie gie us ?

Last night was Burns night and like many I thought on the life of the poet and man and enjoyed my 'neaps and tatties' accompanying a delicious McSweens haggis ( other brands are available but McSween are best in my view).

I am not sure I would describe my Burns supper as traditional as I used 'modern technology' in the form of microwave oven to cook it!

One of Burns' famous observations of human nature is most pertinent to learning even if to him the concept of the Learning and Development show 2011 at London's Olympia might have amazed the bard.

O would some Power the gift to give us
see ourselves as others see us!
It would from many a blunder free us,
And foolish notion:
What airs
in dress and gait would leave us,
And even devotion!

Nowadays the poem might be read off an I Pad or Knidle, or some smart phone device. The point is though that we still want to learn more about human nature. For those involved in professional selling even more so.

The array of psychometric studies into behaviour and new devices to lean from abound at this year's show as do learning and Development professional.

The first person I bumped into was Bob Hughes Business development Manager from Tribal.( actually Bob called out to me first !)

Tribal specialise in work based training but with a fresh and modern approach. They end to end mange the process for their clients.
Bob current activities involve designing in house training but matched to provide candidates with an NVQ qualification. By matching and support the accreditation of existing staff programmes to an apprenticeship
One delighted client is McDonalds who since stating the programme in 2006 found crew tenure has increased from 18months to 2 ½ years. Staff turnover is at an all-time low and the number of people proud to work at McDonalds has risen to a record high.

NEXT -The red herring that I mentioned in the heading is the great “ Poisson Rouge”. Senior associate Tuvia Melamid told me of three of their winning activity for clients

PopularThemes for this year include:-
The X Factor

Cheese tasting

Wine Tasting

I saw a great event that Poisson Rouge did for a Global engineering client of mine which was a treasure hunt team working event in Amsterdam.

The delegates loved the experience and learnt better team working along the way ( literally)

The next stand that caught my eye was People changer ,Steve Thomson, of Unlimited Potential .Steve Thomson, People Changer at Unlimited Potential

As a specialist in Presentation Skills Steve comes from a career as someone who has presented to large audiences and then into training. Clearly this gives him an advantage over trainers who put on presentation courses. He says it is critical with marketers and salespeople that their presentation skills are top score. The right mental attitude along with gravitas is vital to get the message across. Intriguingly Steve believes you can learn to be charismatic.

Learning to see ourselves as others see us as Burns put it in the original

O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad frae monie a blunder free us,
An' foolish notion:
What airs in dress an' gait wad lea'e us,
An' ev'n devotion

Needless to say my spell check has gon mental with the above!

Learning Technologies 2011 Exhibition - London. HMS Supply , Bizo, Tee Up, Ring tingle, Good Oil

G’day to all my Aussie friends and followers of this blog I hope you are having a ripper of an Australia Day.

It’s around 9.00 p.m. 26th January 2011 Oz time in Sydney Australia I reckon.

For those who wonder what I am referring to it's the celebration day of Australia.

On 26 January 1788, early in the morning,Captain Phillip along with a few dozen marines, officers and oarsmen, rowed ashore and took possession of the land in the name of King George III The remainder of the ship's company and the convicts watched from on board HMS Supply

Too late to wish my Aussie friends ‘Arvo’ but hope you have great evening.

To carry on with the Supply word. I am visiting the Learning Technologies exhibition in London at the Olympia exhibition centre.

Hoping to do some 'bizo', 'tee up' with some suitable suppliers, ' chew the fat' with some fellow L & D professionals, 'lob in' to see some software exhibitors, 'have a yarn' with some friends , get some 'good oil' on what's new in the learning technology market place and attend a few seminars - well I'll 'give it a burl'

See the next report in a few hours live from the show.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

I DO like Tuesdays - smarter use of the net, web and CRM Software or "the Cloud" in Selling.

Intelligent use of the data we gain when customers and prospects visit our websites is all the rage at the moment. It seems clear that, we in 'selling', are not making the most of the net's tools at our disposal.

I guess like most people I use only a tiny part of what my computer can do for me in selling. So it is with the web and net.
Some days I feel the way I use my PC is akin to driving a 'Lambo' but never getting the magnificent machine out of first gear.

Similarly there is a wealth of business intelligence which exists around our businesses on the net but it is underutilised.

Using such intelligence we could develop better sales strategies and follow up better to leverage this intelligence for more profitable business.

One of our common challenges in modern selling is:

How do we take our business to this next level?

For most of us , the answer typically lies in an enlarged sales turnover and increased marketing activity.

PROTECTING existing customer base, EXPANDING business within existing customers and DEVELOPING new business in our prospecting activity are three popular main business development objectives.

Yet the returns generated in our use of the net for business doesn’t always meet our expectations nor does it reach the levels we suspect they potentially can.

I have lost count of the numbers of clients who have at first excitedly told me about a newly adopted CRM system which will transform their world but which within in just a few months turns out to be more cumbersome than they had expected and before long it has becomes an unpopular white elephant.
Of course this is not a new syndrome or particularly to do with computers and the net or cloud per se.

Such problems occured in the heyday of paperwork systems such as Kalamzoo and SCRS. It was seldom purely the system but its users.

GIGO (‘Garbish in’ – ‘Garbish out’ has been with us for years)

New CRM systems are quickly adopted and championed by those who will use them as a control and administrative system but perhaps more cynically adapted by field and desk based salespeople who have to populate the system with input data!

From a Sales perspective we want convert more prospects into new clients, cross sell better within their current client base and find new opportunities to pro-actively pursue.

From our Marketing view we need to generate more measurable returns on our marketing spend ( doing the same with a smaller budget), gain clarity on the success of our individual marketing campaigns, and drive more opportunities through to our sales effort.

Sales would like 4 features:-

1.To be able to build up customer profiles of their organisations when visiting our website , understand what our clients and prospects are interested in.

2. To get the right information, to the right people. In selling we need to have relevant information on our clients and prospects delivered directly to us or accessible to us.

3. To know when our clients and prospects are thinking seriously about our offering so we can respond at the right time and not pounce at the first click per view.

4. To engage with our audience and maximise the results.

If we could profile over time of the companies who visit our client’s website in a simple and intuitive process we could drive sales growth and maximise the value of our marketing investment from our CRM and software.

Why not let a specialist explain all this?

Click for Trovus Tips on video from Caspar Craven

Click Trovus

If like Bob Geldorf or myself " You don't like Mondays" you might enjoy "Trovus Tuesdays" where they share best practice in seminars with the clients and prospects.

The next Trovus Tuesday Breakfast Seminar is 2nd February 2010.

I have attended some of these and they are both highly informative and an opportunity to meet fellow sales managers looking to get more from their websites ,CRM systems etc.

Following on from their success last year, the first of the Trovus New Year Breakfast Briefings will take place on Tuesday 2nd February from 9.00am - 10.30am. ( see booking/registration details below.)

If you can't make next week's session look out for the next Trovus Tuesday.

Held in the Rehearsal Room at the Adam Street Club in London, the session is intended to be an informal workshop for you to understand the innovative approach that Trovus have developed to drive more value for your business by building profiles of the companies visiting your website.
Guest speaker Matt Garman, Director, dhc will be sharing his experience of how Trovus has delivered value to his business. He will also discuss how dhc and Trovus are working to integrate Trovus into Microsoft Dynamics - the CRM solution from Microsoft.

Attending the seminar will enable you to:

•Learn innovative new techniques to drive your sales
•Hear and see at first-hand case studies
•Meet other companies and learn from their shared experiences

There will be case studies presented by Coast Digital and Morgan Cole Solicitors to allow you to experience how our clients typically benefit from our innovative approach.

Booking/Registration Details for Trovus Tuesdays:-

Places are limited so early registration is advised. Contact Niki Denham at to register. or via the link above to Trovus above.

Friday, 21 January 2011

It is not ONLY about the Price - 12 key Buyer Motivators

(Finding from the Buyers' Views of salespeople research study- scroll down for link)

Price is important of course but consider these wise words:-

" It is unwise to pay too much, but it's worse to pay too little.

When you pay too much you lose a little money - that is all.

When you pay too little , you sometimes lose everything because the thing you bought is incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do.

The law of Business balance prohibits paying a little and getting
a lot - it can't be done.

If you deal with the lowest bidder , it is as well to add
something for the risk you run and if you do that you will have enough for
something better "
John Ruskin (1819-1900)

Sales professionals wishing to satisfy the needs of a client should understand the underlying motivators; the reasons why a client chooses to buy one product/service over another.

The buying motivators can be generally divided under two headings - Business (rational) motivators and personal (emotional) motivators.

In most buying decisions a sales professional should be looking to find out the buyer’s primary motivation along with any secondary motivators. The precise combination of motives will vary from individual to individual both in terms of their role and their client personality style.

Because of this we need to be aware of not making assumptions as to their prime motivation but undertaking a comprehensive investigation of their needs and wants to establish exactly what they are looking for from the product or service on offer.

To increase your chances of success it is useful for you to be able to appeal to both the rational and emotional factors and not just the rational side; for example, basing your appeal purely on price (gain/saving) alone.

By being able to appeal to as many of the 12 motivators as are relevant and important to your client your presentation will, in turn, be to the point and motivational.( this list is by no means exhaustive there are more than 12 of course)

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Think you’ve got a flair for sales? opportunities for graduates – and where can a job in sales take you

In a live Q&A on 9 December 2010 I had the pleasure in joining the panel for a live Q & A with the subject“A guide to your first job in graduate sales for the on line site Guardian Careers”

( Scroll down for the questions they asked)

The invitation to readers read

”Whether you prefer dissecting - or mocking - the efforts of 'Britain's brightest business prospects' on The Apprentice, it is clear from watching the show that to be worthy of landing the chance to work with Lord Sugar a flair for sales is essential.

After all, whether you are a fan of the series or not, you don't have to look far to see how important sales experience is to getting ahead in business.

Miles Brignall, writing for Guardian Money, said a close look at the profiles of managing directors which routinely feature in the broadsheets will often reveal sales experience on their CV - quite often at the start of their career.

In fact, he said sales experience is almost a prerequisite if you want to be a corporate leader.

It's not surprising then that working in sales is perceived as a strong graduate career choice - and working in this area even acts as a springboard to bigger and better things. According to Brignall, a stint in sales can allow graduates to get their foot in the door of a large organization, which can open up a raft of career possibilities.

So, if you'd like to know more about what is involved and how you can land your first sales role, we've decided to run a live Q & A examining what it takes to break into graduate sales “
Here are some of the questions from undergraduates and graduates :-

1. I'm not 100% sure whether I want to do Sales in the long run, or even if I will be a good Salesperson. Should I commit to a 2 year Sales training scheme if this is the case?

2. I have noticed a lot of CEOs have sales experience. My question is, would you say that if a graduate who doesn't particularly excel at sales is doomed to have a mediocre career?

3. I don't class myself as having an innate ability to sell, but surely given the right training I would be able to do it?

4. Additionally, would it help the many unemployed graduates if companies (sales sector included) acknowledged that training is the answer, rather than placing very high standards on their many competitive graduate schemes?

5. We've touched a bit of the different types of personalities that are attracted to a career in sales. I was wondering if the panel could explain how a graduate can discover if they have what it takes to get ahead in sales?

6. My question is how is best to develop my career through sales & what progression should I am for.

7. Why pick a graduate over another 21 year old with 3 more years’ experience in the world of work?
8. Any market trader can sell. Why do people need to put themselves £30k into the red to get a job with no security?

Respones can be found on
Click for responses

Click for info on Winning Edge Magazine & Institute of Sales & Marketing Management Membership Information

A Coffee "to go" or a Coffee "to stay and do business"

According to Research quoted by the i newspaper this week ( 18/01/11) Robertson's Golden Shred Marmalade has discovered that

50%+ of Brits don't have time for breakfast

16% of busy Brits buy Breakfast on the move with most spending between £3-£5 a day. ( £8 million a day during the working week)

Of those who do squeeze in breakfast 60% use the time to prepare for the day ahead:-

- catching up on emails,
- social media sites
- texts
- and news

What are the implications for professional selling ?

Coffee houses have re-established their place as a centre of trading.

Of course the UK has a long history of Coffee and business.

The first coffee house was set up in Oxford in 1650 which led to a growth to the three thousand in England by 1675.

In Steven Johnson's book titled Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation. From Darwin to YouTube, Johnson asks three questions:-

• What kind of environment fosters the development of good ideas?
• What sparks the flash of brilliance?
• How does ground breaking innovation happen?
He says that if you want to foster innovation
- your office should look like a coffee shop!
Steven Johnson says in the video that he looks for the’ signature behaviours’ that underpin creative environments and goes on to explain why.
Click for Video of Steve Johnson on where good ideas come from

Perhaps to those of us in Selling that is not so surprising.

Where we conduct business has an effect on a meeting with a buyer.
From the Tack Buyers' survey of

Salespeople 39% of the respondents had met with a supplier in a Coffee Shop.

Andy Bones in the section in his book The Jelly Effect on networking says successful networking is a matter of Coffee and fish. ( see book review section of this blog)
By this Andy means grading potential contacts met at a networking event ( Big fish and small fry ) and coffee - going for an informal no obligation first meeting in a relaxed atmosphere for first contact

The UK has more than 3,000 branded coffee shops.

Research group Allegra Strategies predicted that Starbucks alone will keep growing at 9 per cent a year, rising above 6,000 outlets by 2017.

With Wifi available in the likes of Starbucks, Macdonalds , Café Nero with their alliance partnerships with Cloud and BT Openzone the Coffee Shops / Cafes have become our satellite offices.

Steven Johnson might suggest the coffee shop is the environment where ‘Chance favours the connected ( business) minds” fuelled by a skinny soya latte with a double shot or whatever.

Good luck and Good Selling when you are next in the Coffee shop doing business.

Click for free executive summary of the Buyers Views of salespeople research study

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Standing Tall for a successful 2011- The power of posture expansiveness

Express enthusiasm, give a good firm handshake, exchange a business card (see the tables below) ask questions and take in pristine copies of literature.

These are just a handful of the most common tips for new salespeople in face to face meetings.

Yet the power of Body language and non verbal communication have important psychological parts to play also.

The specialists tell us that how you hold yourself affects how you view yourself
A salesperson’s posture may also be a deciding factor for whether they land a coveted sale ( or the job) – even when the buyer on the other side of the desk is in a more powerful role.

New research from the Kellogg School of Management at North-western University, USA, reveals that posture plays an important role in determining whether people act as though they are really in charge.

The research finds that
“posture expansiveness,”

or positioning oneself in a way that opens up the body and takes up space, activates a sense of power that produces behavioural changes in a person independent of their actual rank or hierarchical role in an organization.

More importantly, these new findings demonstrate that posture may be more significant to a person’s psychological manifestations of power than their title or rank alone.

In view of the increasing power of buyers this is important for sales professionals to study particularly in interactions such as negotiations and presenting sales offerings.

Professor Adam Galinsky ( scroll down to see Adam Galinsky's feedback to this blog) and Kellogg PhD candidate Li Huang, along with Stanford Graduate School of Business professor Deborah Gruenfeld and Stanford PhD candidate Lucia Guillory, this research is the first to directly compare the effect on behaviour of having a high-power role versus being in a high-power posture.

The paper is titled “Powerful Postures Versus Powerful Roles: Which Is the Proximate Correlate of Thought and Behaviour?” and appears in the January 2011 issue of Psychological Science.

Although not expected by the research team, they consistently found across the three studies that posture mattered more than hierarchical role – it had a strong effect in making a person think and act in a more powerful way.

In a meeting , for example, a salesperson’s posture will not only convey confidence and leadership but the salesperson will actually think and act more powerfully.

“Going into the research we figured role would make a big difference, but shockingly the effect of posture dominated the effect of role in each and every study,” Huang noted as reported on the Psychological Science website article.

When hierarchical role and physical posture diverge, posture seems to be more important in determining how people act and think.”

To test their theory, Adam Galinsky, Huang and co-authors conducted three experiments to explore the effects of body posture versus role on power-related behaviours.

The first two experiments demonstrated that when individuals were placed in high- or low-power roles while adopting expansive (i.e. open) or constricted (i.e. closed) body postures, only posture activated power-related behaviours.

In the expansive posture condition, participants were asked to place one arm on the armrest of a chair and the other arm on the back of a nearby chair; they were also told to cross their legs so the ankle of one leg rested on the thigh of the other leg and stretched beyond the leg of the chair. Conversely, in the constricted posture condition, participants were asked to place their hands under their thighs, drop their shoulders and place their legs together.

During various tasks such as a word completion exercise and a blackjack game, participants with open body postures were thinking about more power-related words and generally took more action than those with closed body postures. Although people in a high-power role reported feeling more powerful than did those in a low-power role, the manipulation of role power had little effect on action.

These findings demonstrate that role and posture independently affect participants’ sense of power, but posture is more responsible for activating power-related behaviours.
In a third experiment, the researchers demonstrated that posture also has a greater effect on action than recalling an experience of being in a high- or low-power role. Participants verbally recorded a time when they were in a high- or low-powered position while adopting either expansive or constricted body postures, and were then asked whether they would take action in three different scenarios.

Participants in the expansive body posture condition took action more often than those with constricted postures, regardless of whether they recalled a time of being in a high- or low-powered role.

When I emailed Professor Galinsky to check whether the research study findings were directly relevant to selling / buying interaction he succinctly replied.

Hi Hugh,

Very relevant!

Our research has clear implications for salespeople, even when they can’t be seen by others.

For example, having call center individuals sit in chairs that put them into an expansive/high-power posture should make them more assertive and confident, better able to see the big picture, will would likely lead to increased sales.

The effects may be even more powerful when one sells face-to-face. Not only will standing with an expansive posture make you feel more powerful but others will see you as powerful and confident.


Thursday 20th January 2011

Click for Association for Psychological Science site

Click for free executive summary of the Buyers Views of salespeople research study

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Graduates in Selling 2011 - the value of work experience

3/5th of employers from the High Fliers Research Survey stated that it was either 'not very likely' or 'not at all likely' that a graduate who'd had no previous work experience - either with their organisation or at any other employer- would be successful during their selection process and be made a job offer.

Many recruiters commented irrespective of the academic results that a graduate had achieved, it would be very hard for an applicant to demonstrate the the skills and competencies that they were looking for if they'd not had any prior work experience.

Across all the employers featured in the research , an estimated 32% of this year's graduate vacancies will be filled by applicants who have already worked for an employer as an under graduate and in some sectors the proportion increases to 50% or more.

High Fliers Research measure the impact of recruitment activities with 120+ employers selected from the 100 Top graduate employers for 2010.

Almost all of the UK’s leading graduate employers are offering work experience programmes for students and recent graduates during 2010-2011 academic year. Total of 10,665 places are available.

3/5th of employers are providing industrial placements for undergraduates (typically 6-12 months) or vacation work lasting more than three weeks.

2/3rd of recruiters warn graduates who have no previous work experience at all are unlikely to be successful during the selection process and have little or no chance of receiving a job for their organisations’ graduate programmes.

High Fliers Research have recently published their 32 page report on graduate vacancies & starting salaries at Britain's leading employers.

It is organised into 5 sections Click for High Fliers Web site where you can down load the report scroll down to the bottom left hand site of their home page.

1. Introduction: Researching into the Graduate market. The Times Top 100 Graduate employers.
2. Graduate Vacancies : Job vacancies, Type and Location plus the impact of the recession
3. Graduate salaries
4. Graduate recruitment programmes
5. Work experience: Types of work experience on offer, availability and value of work experience

Other useful links:-

Click for Careers Guardian forums well worth following

Click for free executive summary of the Buyers Views of salespeople research study

Click for New 2011 open course in Sales, Leadership, Finance and Personal Development.

The death of email? - the hullabaloo caused by David Fincher's movie The Social Network

As all the promotion, hype and lobbying for David Fincher’s film about Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook for nominations and awards at the Golden Globes , BAFTAs & OSCARS abound, Facebook is headlining the news.

The London Evening Standard ran an article ( 17th Jan 2011) on the theme that “texting, instant messaging and Facebook will soon make email seem as obsolete as the fax machine.”
Surveys in the United States on email usage have shown a decline:-

2008 Business users on average sending 140 emails per day
2010 Business users on average sending 93 emails per day
2011 Business users are expected to send on average 84 emails per day

Social network accounts are fast closing on email accounts. Research specialists Nielsen state that
in 2010 2.9 billion email accounts in the world and 2.1 billion network accounts
Nielsen predicts that by 2014 there will be 3.8 billion email accounts and 3.6 billion social network accounts.

In work it is easier now to notify a group of people about meetings and collaborate in real time on Facebook Messages than it used to be by email.

Communication is no longer a matter of managing your inbox, outbox and electronic desk accessories but rather dipping in and out of a constant flow of conversation which whirls around us.

( Scroll down for free summary of research study Buyers' views of sales people)

For marketers, building up list of loads of email addresses was painstaking and protracted work.

Today it is possible to tweet on a subject, tag it and swiftly reach a relevant audience.

Say something worth saying and they will quickly find you. Sending a marketing email with a pitch will as likely as not end up in the junk mail file.
Yet many may stick with email because of its formality and that only the content of the email and the email address whilst a social network message exposes more of one’s identity with the attendant security worries.

Email is effective for arranging things but is not so fluid at collaboration. Compared with using the applications on Facebook, email is a clunky back and forth method of communication.

When you want to show something as we do when demonstrating to a client we should be able to bring it right up on screen as you talk through as the client sees the demo.

What does this all mean to Professional Selling?

We need to work how best to use all the various ways we can communicate by


Updating by Facebook /LinkedIn,

Blackberry messenger,


Instant messaging,

Apple’s facetime

or SMS.

However in the business field email’s survival will be ensured.

There is considerable fear and unease on the openness of social networks and the possibility of leaks. Also there have billions that have been invested in email security.
Email also provides an easily organised record of communication which provides a paper trail for legal purposes.

"The report of the death of email" as Mark Twain might have said " is greatly exaggerated."

Click for free executive summary of the Buyers Views of salespeople research study

Monday, 17 January 2011

The 3 Key Parts to a DVP- tuning into the Buyer's favourite radio station WWIDFM

(Object d'arts from the Melia Hotel Seville)

The most fundamental question a client has in their mind is “What will it do for me?”

Some buyers will brazenly ask it outright of a salesperson but all are at least thinking that question as they listen to our offering.

The question can be split into three parts which we can analyse in detail.

If we can give a detailed response to the question the more persuasive, appealing and relevant our offering will be to our Buyer.

1............................ 2.............................. 3

What.................... will it do ....................for me ?

IS......................... DOES......................... MEANS

Features/Facts....... Benefits....................Personalised Benefits

Differentiated Value Propositions (DVP) are a client motivation discipline which enable you to communicate your whole offer ( not just your product or service itself) in the most attractive, cogent and pertinent approach.

The exercise of DVP must be part of your sales preparation and training so that when you are subsequently in front of a (potential) customer you have all the information and ‘ammo’ you need to select the most telling points and communicate them in the most effective way.

The three parts of a DVP (client motivation)

Part 1: ( The “IS “)
Firstly identify all the facts and features of:

• Your real product/service
• Your organisation
• The ‘package’ which you offer your clients
• These facts/features must be exact, preferably measurable, and capable of being proven.

Part 2: (The “DOES”)
Extend these facts/features into results or benefits. Facts/features state what something is; results/benefits state what something does, or what is its effect.
A good way to derive lots of features in your DVP is to challenge yourself several times with the challenging questions “So What ?1” , “So what?!” , “So what ?!”

Part 3: The “ MEANS”
Interpret these results/benefits into motivators or Personalised benefits. ( * TACK International use the expression You-Appeal. My delegates on courses tend to ‘corrupt’ it into “Hugh Appeal!”)

Discern how they can be communicated to your customer in such a way as to appeal to both their rational (e.g. gain or saving of money, functionality, security, safety etc.) needs and/or emotional (e.g. ego, loyalty, pleasure, fears, sentiment etc.) wants. The link phrase for effective interpretation is “...which means that you (or your)...”. Remember you are personalising the benefit with a “wraparound” statement that relates to your customer’s needs.
One of he ways to generate good “Hugh Appeals” is respond to several challenges of “ What does that mean to me?!” , “ What does that mean to me?!”, “ What does that mean to me?!”.

Features/Facts Benefits Personalised Benefit
( Hugh Appeal)
Is Does Means

Each benefit is tailored to your client’s situation by using the phrase “which means that you or your” – the word ‘you’ puts your client in the centre of the benefit picture. In other words your presentation becomes a more persuasive communication and in tune with the client. It ‘resonates’ better with your client.

Competitor comparison
In order to motivate a client or prospect to buy from you, they need to appreciate not only that your DVP is good in itself, but also that it is the most cost effective offer for the business and preferably also the most personally suitable one for them too.

While it is unprofessional and unacceptable to ‘rubbish’ your competitors directly, DVP enables you to compare favourably with them in two ways:

• by communicating your offer in a professional fashion it will create a much better psychological impression than a badly presented case from a competitor.

• by stressing on those features/benefits which are exclusive to you, or which are your greatest relative strengths, then indirectly you will show how you are better than your competitors.

The practical use of DVP
You are not doing the full analysis to enable you to swamp every client with information whether they want it or not. You do it to ensure that you are fully conversant with the implications of your total DVP, and so that you are in a position easily to bring to mind the points that will appeal most to a specific individual. You must also provide evidence that you can meet both their business needs and their personal ‘wants’.

DVP will enable you to communicate your key points to your client so that your presentation is:

• Logical
• Credible
• Comprehensive
• Motivational
• Distinctive

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Esselte Sales Conference 2011 the final countdown

One of the privileges of my job is to work with some of the finest salespeople in the world.

Esselte certainly 'walk their talk' and hold their successful salespeople in the highest regard. One way that the top management at Esselte express this is in their annual Sales Awards ceremony.

As in all things Esselte they hold this event with the highest quality and standards. They run it like a Golden Globe Awards or OSCAR ceremony.

This year's ceremony was held at the hacienda El Vizir just outside Seville. As night fell on the Thursday evening we boarded the coaches at 6.30 p.m. suitably scrubbed up and dressed up.
On arrival to the Hacienda we were entered on a red carpet lit by flaming torches.

We were then served drinks and tasty snacks by ladies in colourful and traditional Spanish dress. This pre- supper time was accompanied by live acoustic guitar music.

Then it was time to go into the awards dinner. Set before the tables was a stage and two large screens. The superb AV team from Universal Live had moved the staging and kit from the Melia Conference hotel in Seville to the evening venue in just a couple of hours. That must have taken some organising! 01274 200292

Universal Live Technical event Solutions

Instead of the usual place names there were framed photographs of the dinner guests at each table. How Chris Lord - master photographer had time for all this as well as record all the events of the conference I know not.

We also saw a brilliant slide show at the awards ceremony by Chris plus some stunning photos of the special sites we had visited in the beautiful city of Seville.
Chris Lord Photography

Between the dinner courses were short speeches by the Esselte top management, inspiring stories of the work of the award winners, moving and genuinely humble acceptance speeches ( so often they mentioned their teams even when the award was for individual work) plus dancing from a flamenco dancer all rounded off with Esselte's very own rock band playing and dancing the night away.

Of course such an event as the Esselte Sales Conference can only work when all work as a team.
One of the teams who make it all work of course are event supremos Yes.
Some while ago Unipart motor spares had a slogan " The answer is Yes! Now what is the question?" Well Charlotte Hughes and her associate Nicola lived up to that challenge throughout the conference.The team at Yes who have won AWARDS 2004, 2007,2008, 2009 & 2010 - BEST EVENT MANAGEMENT AGENCY and get my vote for 2011

Yes - The total Event management Agency

I would also like to thank my TACK International colleagues including the ballistic Anna Marie Pepin, the multi lingual Jacobus Onneken, the creative Simon ( Picasso) Broom and the zestful and resilient Neil Parry.

Special thanks to my friend and colleague Simon Cooper and our ring master and master puppeteer TACK's Sales Director , Carole Hudson.

Modesty forbids me tell you which team won the TACK training award for the conference but I was privileged to facilitate the Conquistador team who lived up to their team name and conquered all before them at the finish! Of course it was the delegates who were the real heroes in the team- they lived up to their slogan - A PASSION TO WIN.

Once again team Esselte I and all my colleagues salute you. Well Done and good selling in 2011.

Some additional photos follow:-

Jacobus Onneken , TACK

Neil Parry, TACK

Anna-Marie Pepin, TACK

Sunset over the plaza de Espana view from the Melia Hotel
Not quite up to Chris Lord's photographic standards!

The river Guadalquivir and the Golden Tower

One of the tile displays from the plaza de Espana nearby to the Hotel Melia

Creative display typical of the interior of the Hotel Melia Seville - hotel with panache

Melia Hotel group

Click for free executive summary of the Buyers Views of salespeople research study